After Christmas Sales Continue To Surge

After Christmas Sales Continue To Surge

The day after Christmas is one of bargain hunters favorite days to nab deals and 2014 won’t disappoint, especially if you’re in the market for new clothes.

Seasonal after Christmas sales data isn’t yet in but early results indicate that sales will be up slightly for the season. Shoppers have exhibited more savvy deal-seeking behavior with each passing year and 2014 will be no exception.

Consumers prudently utilized early Black Friday sales and many ticked needed items off their personal shopping lists in addition to buying gifts for others. But not all product categories fared well and one in particular will likely see big markdowns during after Christmas sales.

Apparel  after Christmas sales have suffered across all retailers this year as shoppers spurned clothes in favor of gadgets and gift cards and here will be the biggest and best discounts. It’s a great opportunity to snap up winter items including sweaters, outwear and boots. Macy’s, Nordstrom, JCPenney, Gap brands including Banana Republic and Old Navy will all offer big discounts.

Houseware sales have been trending up, according to The NPD Group. Home items and furniture are often hot leading into the holidays as homes are spruced up for holiday entertaining. Now it’s time for retailers to blow out merchandise that didn’t sell as stores are reset for new items.

National furniture chains like Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware and Room & Board host inventory clearance after Christmas sales including floor samples beginning Dec. 26. I for one, will be logging on first thing (or staying up past midnight) to take advantage of these once a year opportunities for big ticket items at sizable discounts.

And of course, those smart enough to stock up on holiday decor, wrapping and themed items for next year will find barrels of wrapping paper, cards and icicle lights at discount stores at deep discounts.

Some deal seekers may be foiled by both big data — which has allowed retailers to create better models that better matches inventory to shopper intent— and the season’s most popular present: the gift card.

This year, 70 percent of shoppers intended to buy gift cards and spend on average $231 each. Many of those recipients will be heading out to malls to spend them. If not the day after Christmas, in the weeks immediately following. This is not a new trend, but one that has been building for the past seven years, and retailers have planned accordingly.

Big box and chain stores will scale back markdowns while waiting for this next rush of shoppers. Many will bring out new merchandise specifically targeted to shoppes armed with gift cards. Teen apparel and accessories will likely be the biggest beneficiaries here, but with fast fashion retailers among this groups most favored retailers it’s difficult to imagine prices going even lower than those already offered by the likes of H&M and Forever 21.

Online retailers including Amazon are offering up to 70 percent off some items (mostly apparel), but many such as Overstock.com have created well thought out merchandising plans with daily deals and specialty items in planned sales through the end of the year.

There will be deals, but no fire sales this year. Much like Black Friday, shoppers need to do their research and target their prey with precision.